NFL Nation: John Herrera

Remembering a legend

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
8:00
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On Oct. 8, 2011, I woke up at about 7 a.m. PT to prepare for an early flight to Denver to cover a Broncos-Chargers game.

Then my phone rang.

It was ESPN’s John Clayton. He told me word was spreading that Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis had died at the age of 82. We needed to get it confirmed.

A few minutes later, it was. Then-Oakland executive John Herrera returned a message, telling me that, indeed, Al Davis was gone. Herrera sounded tired and sad. We chatted for a few minutes. I expressed my condolences to him and the franchise.

Then it was time to reflect on one of the most historic figures in sports history. The Denver trip was shelved. My editors wanted me to fully concentrate on this massive story. It was an incredible day as reaction came fast and furious and people around the league reflected on Davis’ life. I’ll always remember that day.

On the one-year anniversary of Davis’ death, all NFL fans -- regardless of their fan allegiances -- should take a moment to remember the unforgettable Al Davis.

Raiders sign troubled former Packer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
9:34
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Reggie McKenzie’s first signing of a former Green Bay Packer as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders shows he is willing to give a player with a checkered past a second chance.

Underwood
The Raiders announced the signing of cornerback Brandon Underwood on Thursday. Underwood did not play in 2011 after he was cut by Green Bay – where McKenzie was an executive – last September after he was arrested for the second time in his professional career. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of soliciting a prostitute in a June 2010 incident at a resort cabin in Lake Delton, Wis., after two women alleged that he sexually assaulted them. He was arrested after a June 2011 incident in which his wife accused him of domestic violence; he later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge.

Underwood was a sixth-round pick of the Packers in 2009. He played mostly on special teams in Green Bay. He will likely have a difficult time making the Raiders’ 53-man roster. However, the Raiders are very thin at cornerback, so Underwood may get his chance. He is probably the first of several cornerbacks Oakland signs before training camp.

In other AFC West news:

The Raiders have reportedly parted ways with longtime team spokesman John Herrera. It is another indication of the changes following the death last October of team owner Al Davis, of whom Herrera was a close ally.

Insider In an Insider piece, Todd McShay explains why Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill may be a good fit for Denver.
JaMarcus Russell is a former Raider.

Raiders senior executive John Herrera just confirmed the team has released Russell. He was the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. I will have much more on this throughout Thursday afternoon.

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